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Burma/Myanmar Junta


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Guest ncm2169

For some reason I can't get a decent google response to my query, so let's see if Daddy can substitute. :*

 

What is the origin/reason behind the military junta in Burma/Myanmar, and what keeps it in power?

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Guest ncm2169

< snacking on some ngapee and trying to decide whether to eat or drink his lahpet.

 

Naw. I'm much more of a Nwa Mee Hinga or Balachaung (or both) with Kaw Thaung kinda guy. :9

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I believe the ultimate origin of the junta is the fight for independence from the Brits.

 

As to what keeps them in power...the same thing that keeps all dictatorships in power. They have the military and all the weapons under their control. They reward their loyal cronies and brutally punish any and all dissent. In addition to the military they also have a network of secret police and civilian informants. They have managed to make sure that the state's wealth is siphoned off to their own accounts to dole out to their friends.

 

As we saw last Fall the network of monks who are generally non-violent were no match for the army and their gangs of thugs. The people in general are dissatisfied but after decades of being under the thumb of the military government they have been beaten down pretty badly. The cyclone was seen by some as an opening but that has yet to materialize. The people know what is going on and what has happened thanks to some well-funded outside groups and underground networks in country. But there is little they can do. The junta has imprisoned or killed most of the leaders of the opposition so there is no one to really lead a revolution. The new generation of monks tried but the crackdown was brutal when it finally happened. Some managed to escape to Thailand. Some are in hiding. Others were killed or sent to Insein prison.

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>I believe the ultimate origin of the junta is the fight for

>independence from the Brits.

>

That's a bit misleading as Burma was governed as a democratic republic from its independence from Britain in 1948, until overthrown by a military coup d'etat in 1962. Burma's 14 years of democratic rule produced such statesmen as U Thant, who was UN Secretary General in the 1960s...

 

My understanding of the origins of Burma's military rule is that it lies in the anti-western 'reaction' that was very powerful in Asia, particularly South East Asia (look at Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam for parallels) in the 1960s and 70s. Although couched as opposing western 'imperialism', the real targets were (western?) values of tolerance, pluralism and democratic rule as opposed to strict authoritarian rule, and in Burma's case socialist dogma. After the coup in 1962, the military nationalized virtually every aspect of the economy and society (i.e. press, media - even the Boy Scouts!) under the policy of the 'Burmese Road to Socialism'. In the 1970s, direct military rule was replaced by one-party rule by the Burma Socialist Programme Party, whose leadership was still dominated by the military.

 

Anti-military protests and demonstrations in the 60s and 70s were ruthlessly crushed, and in 1988 another wave of protests led to yet another military coup leading to military-dominated 'councils' (i.e. juntas) that have ruled since then. Free elections in 1990 were overwhelmingly won by the opposition National League for Democracy, but the results were ignored. New elections and constitutional reform have been promised for 2010, but I wouldn't hold my breath for change to come that way.

 

In addition to the Burmese government's internal repression of its people, the Burmese government enjoys the diplomatic support of China, which has opposed calls for sanctions against Burma in the UN Security Council, saying they would 'not be helpful'.

 

Hope that gives you what you're looking for.

 

Alan

 

Wikipedia articles of interest include:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burma

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ne_Win (the General who led the 1962 coup and ruled Burma until 1988)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_Myanmar

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Guest icon513

>I'll be there in September but you can be sure I won't be

>talking politics with the people. Perhaps I'll give a short

>report on what it was like touring the country.

>

>the Cajun

 

You're in for a wonderful time. I've been there many times -- including during the May monsoon -- and have made many terrific (and handsome) friends there.

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There are two things to remember about Buddhism as practiced in Burma:

 

As in other Asian countries, like Thailand, where Buddhism is the prevailing cultural norm, it is very common for adolescent Burmese boys to spend a period of time in a monastery as a monk. It is an effective way of conveying spiritual and cultural values. They should not be confused with the adult, vocational Monks as we understand them in sacerdotal Christianity. As such these young monks who recently rebelled represented not only the religious values of their faith but also the values of the families to which they would soon return.

 

Secondly, Buddhism deems existence as we experience it to be very transitory. As difficult as Burmese situation may be, to many Burmese it will soon be rectified by reincarnation.

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